Europes best motorhomes | Examiner.com
Heres a selection of the very best motorhomes that Europe has to offer including Stephan Wirths Action Mobil Desert Challenger, Manfred Esterbauers gargantuan Neoplan RV conversion, Gerhard Volkners stunning car carrying Mobil Performance Moho, Michael Ketterers beautiful line of custom built RVs and Hnerkopf Neukirchens MB Zetros expedition vehicle. Five of the nine motorhomes listed here can even carry their own car!Saalfelden-based Action Mobil manufactures some of the very best overland expedition vehicles in the world including their best selling 3-axle 6x6 Globe Cruiser.Action MobilVario Mobil Fahrzeugbau GmbHFor those that are wondering why I included only German and Austrian motorhomes especially given Europes motoring heritage the answer is simple. There are just not enough major motorhome manufacturers outside of these two countries. Indeed, the fact that other German manufacturers like Brstner GmbH, CVC GmbH, Eura Mobil GmbH and Hymer AG (Hymer deployed the first operable RV based fuel cell back in 2003) didnt make the list indicates that the German recreational vehicle industry has a strength in both breadth and depth that is not currently shared by its European neighbors. By contrast, European motorhome chassis manufactures are more widely dispersed with Citroen, Daimler AG (Mercedes-Benz), Fiat Group, Ford, Renault, Volkswagen, Volvo and Man - amongst others - all providing European RV platforms.In any event, heres my list for your consideration. If youd like to learn more about a particular RV be sure to check out the slideshow (just click the middle image on the left) or video (The Most Futuria - bottom image on left) or you can follow the hyperlinked titles which will either take you to a more detailed article and slideshow or direct to the manufacturers website.Finally, with my columns two year anniversary fast approaching heres a big shout out to my fellow RVers for following my scribbles. May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand. Happy Camping.Action Mobil Desert Challenger (Austria)The colossal 30 ton Desert Challenger is a 1.5 million Euro ($1.75 million) bespoke four-axle off-road motorhome and a true goliath amongst RVs. The thirteen meter (42 ft) long, four meter (13 ft) high and three meter (9.8 ft) Desert Challenger - billed as the largest AWD motorhome in the world is outfitted with two lateral slides and is complemented by a stunning Arabian themed interior.The 8x8 AWD Man KAT 1 chassis is built to a German Army specification that called for a truck that can follow a main battle tank into any terrain at the same speed, fully loaded. This ultimate in overland vehicles can ford water to a depth of almost four feet, climb 60% gradients and cross ditches up to six feet wide. The only drawback apart from the horrible fuel consumption - is that the vehicle is so wide in the beam that it needs a special permit to travel on the European road system. Action Mobil have made a number of other equally prodigious 4-axle 8x8 vehicles including the awesome Outback series.Fans of MAN Kat conversions should also check out the Inzigkofen-Engelswies based Global Linking department of Axel Brenner Systemtechnik GmbH who have undertaken custom conversions of vehicles on behalf of a variety of overlanding clients including Emil Npfleins 400bhp 8-cylinder Man Kat 6x6 overland expedition vehicle. Check out the slideshow.Action Mobil Globe Cruiser (Austria)Saalfelden-based Action Mobil manufactures some of the very best overland expedition vehicles in the world including their best selling 3-axle 6x6 Globe Cruiser. Based on the SCANIA R 420 CB6x6HHZ chassis and powered by a 530HP 6-cylinder inline turbo diesel with intercooler the Globe Cruiser is a completely self-contained 301 (9.160 mm) long, 81 (2.470 mm) wide, and 12 (3.660 mm) high expedition vehicle. Power is supplied by water cooled, soundproof encapsulated 5.7kW Mastervolt Whisper 6 Ultra generator and a 24 V 810 Ah Gel-battery bank. This is supplemented by a 4x240 Watt solar system coupled to a 3000Watt inverter. The vehicle is equipped with two fuel tanks with a total capacity of 219 US gallons (860 liters) along with a 214 U.S. gallon (800 l) fresh water tank.The interior of the Globe Cruiser can be customized for either two or four people and includes a fully equipped kitchen (including a dishwasher), dining area, bathroom and separate shower room plus the master bedroom. Although not as luxurious as some of its counterparts this vehicle is designed to get you and your passengers to your destination by any overland route and in all weather conditions. Other features include a rear bike lift which puts this into an elite group of seriously cool expedition vehicles. Check out the slideshow.Ketterer Custom Line (Germany)If money is no object then you can order a custom RV from Ketterer Spezialfahrzeuge AG a specialist vehicle manufacturer based near Karlsruhe, Germany. Although Ketterer specializes primarily in motorhome-horsebox combos, their Ketterer Custom Line a bespoke luxury motorhome - provides a further remarkable example of German engineering prowess. The Custom Line includes the signature 1 metre wide and 7 metre (21 feet) long lateral slide out (also available on their Continental motorhome), a standard 2.50m x 1.20m slide out from their double pop out motorhome series - on the opposite side as well as a rear entry car garage large enough to handle a Smart fortwo or similar sized vehicle.The ultra-modern high white interior (pictured in slideshow) is simply breathtaking but would surely prove impossible to keep clean. Though I imagine that if you afford this rig you can also afford to employ a bevy of maids to keep it ship-shape and Bristol fashion. Check out the slideshow.Mercedes-Benz Zetros 2733 A (Germany)In late 2010, Germanys Hnerkopf Neukirchen a custom interior design company - in collaboration with Alsfeld based Hartmann Spezialkarosserien GmbH - a leading German coach builder - delivered two beautifully outfitted Mercedes-Benz Zetros 2733 6x6 AWD expedition grade recreational vehicles (RVs) for two separate customers in Ulan-Bator, in north central Mongolia. Manufactured at Daimlers Wrth plant near Karlsruhe in Germany these two expedition grade recreational vehicles would be an ideal choice for Overlanding enthusiasts.The 27 ton Zetros is powered by a 326 HP OM 926 LA 7.2-litre 6-cylinder in-line turbo diesel engine it can use diesel or biodiesel - and is fed by twin diesel fuel tanks with a total capacity of 500 litres. Although the Zetros is an expedition grade RV it still incorporates a number of luxury features including a bathroom that boasts a marble floor with under floor heating. Check out the slideshow.Most Futuria (Germany)Futurias $1.5 million (379,130) custom built tractor-trailer RV combo debuted in August at the 2010 Caravan Salon in Dusseldorf, Germany (this Expo celebrates its 50thanniversary this year). This limited edition corporate motorhome - the Gen 1 Futuria production run is limited to 100 vehicles - has been described as a Villa on Wheels (Eine Villa auf Rdern") - which is hardly surprising as this sixteen ton, fifteen meter behemoth comes complete with an eleven foot roof terrace with a Whirlpool bath plus built in LED roof lighting system and a car garage with stern ramp. The Futuria Sports & Spa comes equipped with a 12 kVA FischerPanda generator, 100 litre fresh water supply and 100 litre (26 US gallon) waste water tank. The kitchen is equipped with a number of amenities including a Miele microwave, Miele Coffee maker and an 80 litre refrigerator.Putting a Whirlpool bath in a motorhome poses some unique challenges. Not least, how do you fill a 550 liter (145 US gallon) whirlpool bath with only 100 litres of water, how do you dispose of the water and if you leave the water in the whirlpool bath - how does all that water on the top deck effect the road handling of the trailer? Inquiring minds would like to know. Check out the slideshow.Neoplan Jumbocruiser (Germany)This double deck articulated coach known as Der Bus- was manufactured by Germanys Neoplan Bus GmbH - part of MAN Nutzfahrzeuge AG. The Jumbocruiser which was phased out in 1993 - was originally introduced by Neoplan in 1975 and could carry a maximum of 144 passengers. Der Bus is 18 metres long, 4 metres high and 2.5 metres wide with a total weight of 28 tons. Powered by a Daimler-Benz Diesel Injection 12 cylinder V-type engine with 440 PS it was equipped with an Allison HAT 750m CR automatic transmission. The Vehicle has seats for 8 passengers plus the driver and includes a VIP lounge with bar, living room, kitchen, dining area, bathroom and two bedrooms. There is a small garage in the rear section which could handle bikes and ATVs. Check out the slideshow.Stauber Actro Liner 1200+1 (Germany)Stauber Motorhomes - based in Goddert - manufacture a range of specialist RVs which include the 3-axle, diesel powered Actro Liner 1200+1. This is a 12 metre long motorhome on a Mercedes chassis which with slides extended provides a nearly 14 foot wide (425 centimetre) living area. The 425,000 Euro ($595,000) rig created by Manfred Stauber includes an extendable rear car garage (which can house a BMW 5 series), marble floors and steam shower but the pice de rsistance has to be the rising master bedroom which has to be seen to be believed. Ausgezeichnet! Vertical slides are very rare in RVs. Stauber and Ketterer employ such slides in Germany and US celebrity coach manufacturer Ron Anderson utilizes a 53 foot long vertical slide in his Anderson Mobile Estates. Check out the slideshow.Volkner Mobil Performance (Germany)The Volkner Mobil Performance is a stunning 460hp, $1.5 million bespoke diesel pusher on a Volvo bus chassis that comes equipped with its own hydraulic drop down-slide out vehicle cargo bay. Built by Wuppertal based Volkner Mobil this luxury motorhome includes a cargo bay situated between the axles of the coach. The larger model can easily accommodate a vehicle up to 16 feet (5m) in length including; a BMW Z4, Mercedes SLK or even a Maserati Quattroporte. Gerhard Volkners 900-1200 series motorhomes incorporate a more conventional rear entry car garage, presumably for those punters who cant afford the Quattroporte. Check out the slideshow.Vario Mobil Perfect 1200 Platinum (Germany)The $1.5 million Vario Mobil Perfect 1200 Platinum is a 25 ton, 12 metre, 3-axle motorhome manufactured by Bohmte, Osnabrck-based VARIOmobil Fahrzeugbau GmbH. This 420 HP luxury motorhome includes 3 slide outs and an integrated passenger car garage below the master bedroom - big enough to house a Mini cabriolet. The luxury interior includes a fully equipped kitchen, granite floors, Corian countertops and cherry wood furniture with Alcantara upholstery. The Platinum 1200 utilizes a Volvo B12 M chassis and is powered by a 6-cylinder turbo charged diesel engine with a 5 speed automatic transmission. The rig comes equipped with a Kohler 6KW generator, 110 watt solar module and 2x12v/220AH gel batteries. Check out the slideshow.